It is reported that the first Peer to Peer experience of video conferencing was courtesy of AT&T, through its Picture Phone device. The gadget was unveiled in the 1960’s at the New York World Fair. Price then was exorbitant and the appeal was highly luxurious. As a result, it wasn’t a big hit for years to come. Come 1976, certain improvements were made and a promotion was made for commercial use, the first demonstration was done between Tokyo and Osaka. Slowly, video conferencing gained more users. With the advent of digital transmission in the 80’s in which voice and video are both transferred into electrical pulses, followed by ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network, video conferencing started becoming a reliable and attractive means to communication. With innovations, two voice and video signals can be transferred simultaneously. Increase in frames transferred per second was also developed as well as sizing which was small enough to fit into personal computers. The 1990’s gave commercial video conferencing its first fair price.
All throughout most of its history, video conferencing was promoted as a commercial and business tool for communication. Only from the years 2000 and up did it gain a more rounded appeal. The technology saw worth for interpersonal communications and as an educational tool. With regards to impact and contribution to the world of education, video conferencing has given a lot.
Wider scope and reach
Live video connection between people located in separate places is now made possible. People now are able to visually communicate from anywhere in the world. Schools, universities, learning facilities with focus on specialized type of education, and many other types of learning institutions can now reach across localities and even nations in order to make connections and achieve lasting impact on students all over the world. Sharing lectures and other teaching sessions across universities is now possible. Professors can set one time schedule to do all the speaking or training and many can join for learning. Students are able to gain exposure by joining online study groups and collaborate on projects and studies together even though they may be miles or even continents apart. Video conferencing has helped students gain more exposure on cross-cultural relations and learnings.
More flexible means to obtaining studies and/or further education
In time past, students had to strictly follow school scheduling for classes and opportunities for taking courses depended on the area one is in. Now, with online education and distance education as options, students need not be hindered by time and place factors. Working people may be able to pursue further studies without sacrificing or quitting their jobs. People with special needs or those who are handicapped may still pursue learning at the comfort of their own homes.
Reduced Time and Expenses
Whether from the side of the student or the learning institution, time and money are definitely saved. More credit hour tuition fees are saved through video conferences as sessions become more meaningful and easy to attend. Instructors find it easier to impart knowledge when the ‘visual’ aspect of the teaching session is also added. Retention is quicker to achieve and the need for repetition of lectures or instructions is significantly lessened.
Ease and Speed of Transferring Learning
Close to 30,000 systems are in place at schools, learning centers, and districts or departments of education and all cite how easy it is to facilitate learning through video conference technology. Connecting with students and learning centers is a breeze. In an instant, multiple people of varied religion, history, and geography can interact and learn from one another. It’s easy to invite experts for speaking engagements, as they can offer a lecture all without having to leave their place of work or vocation.
Instead of going through all the preparation and scheduling required by a field trip, virtual field trips are an option that can be just as educational but less expensive. Museums and various learning departments can be brought directly to students. Professional HD quality video conferencing may be provided at specially tailored prices. Service companies like Blue Jeans offer various options for conducting video conferences. In a scholastic magazine, Mt. Lebanon of Pennsylvania recounts how the school was able to offer tis students the opportunity to actually see a volcano and all its activities through video conferencing. Aileen Owens, tech coordinator for the school, emphasized how some kids may find the science of study uninteresting, but things definitely change when learning is done ‘live’.
The Center of Science and Industry, located in Columbus, Ohio also has one interesting story to cite. Medical learning and training has drastically changed, becoming more impactful through video conferencing. Previously impossible, now, students are able to see live knee replacement surgeries in their Science class. Indeed, video conferencing is one powerful medium that grants students unparalleled access to insight, procedures, and places, which their minds must have only dreamed of in time past.